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Author Topic: "But it really would've been nice to get a card."  (Read 3648 times)

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snowball's chance

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"But it really would've been nice to get a card."
« on: September 18, 2008, 10:59:02 AM »
In my last job, I was the head of a department for a small company; my department consisted of 7 people, including myself. We got along well, for the most part.
Every time someone had a birthday, the person who had the last birthday was in charge of buying cake and a card for the next person. So, if my birthday is in January, I'd buy cake and a card for the person whose birthday is in April. This worked well . . . with one notable exception.

For three years, I bought cake and a card for "Dorothy." I'd always thought Dorothy was nice, and I actually felt somewhat sympathetic toward her--she'd not had the easiest life, and I tried to go out of my way to be nice to her.

A day or so later, she came into my office and said she knew what kind of cake she wanted. "Great!" I said, glancing up at her and smiling. Her birthday was still an entire month away, so it wasn't much of an emergency. I thought.

She was still standing there.

I looked up at her. "What kind of cake would you like?" I asked. This was obviously what she wanted.

"I'd like a Jeff Gordon photo cake!"

"Okay," I said. I wasn't surprised--her entire cubicle was plastered with NASCAR paraphernalia, specifically Jeff Gordon, so this wasn't a shock. I'm not a NASCAR fan, I don't know ANYTHING about it, but I knew she liked it.

"I have the picture I want and everything."

"Okay, great," I said.

Weeks passed. Dorothy came in and gave me the picture. I said thank you and that I'd take care of it. Then she said that another co-worker told her that, because the picture came out of a magazine and wasn't a photo, that there might be copyright-infringement issues. I said that hadn't occurred to me, but the other person might have a point, so we should pick out another cake, just in case.

We went to the store's website, she picked out the cake she wanted--a general NASCAR cake. I said I'd take care of it.

I went to the store after work, and, sure enough, they couldn't do the picture cake. I was disappointed for Dorothy, but at least we had the backup cake. When the person at the bakery asked if I'd like a particular car on the cake (there were little Matchbox-type cars on it), I said to make sure one of them was a Jeff Gordon car.

On Monday, I told Dorothy that I was sorry, but the picture cake hadn't worked out. She was very, VERY upset, but I assured her that I'd ordered the other cake. I went back that afternoon to pick it up . . .

No Gordon car.

Knowing how upset Dorothy had been about the other cake, I asked about the car, pointing out that the invoice said, very clearly, "Jeff Gordon car." The bakery lady shrugged and said, "Guess they just didn't do it." I asked if they had one--she said no, they didn't put the cars on there.

Frustrated and flustered, I left in a hurry. I liked Dorothy, and didn't want to disappoint her. She was already upset about the other cake, and this was just one more thing.

As soon as I got back to the office, I apologized repeatedly for the incorrect cake. She seemed QUITE peeved by it. I showed her the invoice, which obviously called for the correct car.

We all gathered for cake, everyone remarked on it. Dorothy had calmed down by then, and talked about how cute it was, and how she appreciated my getting it. Everything was fine. To make sure, I apologized one more time--she said it was fine.

We started eating cake, and suddenly, it hit me:

In all the flurry of the wrong cake, I'd walked right out of the store without buying her a card.

"Dorothy, I am SO sorry," I said, genuinely upset, "I completely forgot your card. I feel terrible."

She stopped in mid-bite and just STARED at me.

I had not expected that at all.

No one noticed, they just kept eating and chatting, and I apologized again. For the cake and the card.

Later that day, she came into my office. "That was a really good cake," she said.

"I'm glad you liked it! I'm just so sorry that the picture cake didn't work out, and that they screwed up the car."

"Oh, that's okay," she said. "It was such a cute cake."

"Yeah, it was," I agreed, feeling relieved. Things were okay after all.

"But it really would've been nice to get a card," she snapped.

"I'm sorry," I said, feeling bad again.

The next day, she was eating some of the leftover cake, and she remarked, again, on how good it was. I said I was glad she'd liked it. She said, again, that she thought it was really cute. I agreed.

"But it really would've been nice to get a card."

"I'm sorry."

Later that day, eating cake again. It's cute, so delicious . . . "But it really would've been nice to get a card."

In order to make up for my mistake, after work I bought her a bottle of wine and a blank card. I wrote a heartfelt message on it about how I was so sorry that I'd forgotten her birthday card, it wasn't an intentional slight, I just forgot because I was so upset about the incorrect cake, blah blah blah . . .

I left it in her chair the next morning.

She came in with the wine and card and hugged me. "Thank you so much. That was so sweet of you," she said. I told her she was more than welcome, that I just felt bad because the cake had been wrong and then I'd forgotten the card because I'd been upset and distracted. I asked how her birthday had gone, she said it was really nice, that she'd loved the cake, that it was cute and delicious . . .

"But it really would've been nice to get a card."

It took all I had to keep from using the card I'd just given her to slice her jugular open.

 Co-Workers0806-07
=========================

A.) "But it really would've been nice to get a card.": I make a motion to adopt this as the new EHell phrase to describe beating dead horse, and not letting go of a grudge, and

B.) I think Dorothy needs to grow up.  I can't remember the last time anyone bought me a cake for my birthday, & if anyone ever did, I could give a hoot about how it's decorated if it tastes good.


Veronica

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Re: "But it really would've been nice to get a card."
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2008, 11:06:00 AM »
My guess is that Dorothy has no life outside of work.  She is way too concerned about work celebrating her birthday "properly."  ::)

Florida

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Re: "But it really would've been nice to get a card."
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2008, 11:08:25 AM »
This makes me wonder what Dorothy does for the person whose birthday comes after hers....

artk2002

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Re: "But it really would've been nice to get a card."
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2008, 11:13:46 AM »
I wonder about the submitter's self-esteem.  My response to the title phrase would have been to quote the Rolling Stones.  And maybe give her an etiquette book, since that's what she needed.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

snowflake

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Re: "But it really would've been nice to get a card."
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2008, 04:31:16 PM »
A.) "But it really would've been nice to get a card.": I make a motion to adopt this as the new EHell phrase to describe beating dead horse, and not letting go of a grudge, and

SECOND!

I might start using this in every day life.